A U.S. Degree At Any Cost

An industry of "education agents," many corrupt, is taking advantage of Chinese demand for American diplomas

Illustration by Chris Silas Neal for TIME

David Zhu, a Shanghai University student, is nowhere close to being fluent in English. But that hasn't stopped him from enrolling at Oregon State University this fall to pursue a bachelor's degree in business--a dream his parents have had for him since they started saving a $157,000 nest egg for his education. Zhu's family felt that an American college degree would help give him an edge over the tens of thousands of Chinese students pouring into the country's overcrowded universities each year. Because his English is limited, however, Zhu may not have been accepted without a little assistance. His family spent...

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